Amsterdam’s cyclists – safer without road safety?

09.09 | 4 July 2011 | | 2 comments

Despite cyclists in Amsterdam paying scant attention to traditional safety precautions – such as helmets – the Guardian looks into why they are far safer than their British counterparts.

111 cyclists were killed on Britain’s roads in 2010, while in Amsterdam around six or seven cyclists die in collisions every year.

According to the Guardian report, cyclists ‘rule’ Amsterdam: Out of a population of around 780,000, 75% (over the age of 12) cycle; and more than half of them cycle every day.

Amsterdam’s cyclists pay little attention to traditional safety precautions; there are no helmets, no ‘lurid’ jackets, no flashing lights, and no protective pads or gloves.

“Safety comes in less obvious ways”, claims the Guardian. High levels of investment in cycling lanes, special traffic lights, intensive education, and streets that HGVs and bendy buses can’t reach, have all played a part in improving the safety of the city’s cyclists.

The Guardian argues that safety precautions such as helmets would be counterproductive in Amsterdam. The paper asks: “Who wants to lug heavy helmets between office and home? Who needs to put on modern body armour to take a bike ride?

“Helmets and the rest don’t increase safety overall. In practical terms, they shrink cycle use – and the more it shrinks, the more people (walking, driving) get killed. In short, doing the safe thing is the stupid, unsafe thing.”

Click here to read the full Guardian report.


Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    Sorry about my previous comments, I foolishly had not read the whole of Peter Prestons argument, no doubt paid for holiday in Amsterdam visiting the who knows what museums etc.

    Yes sorry that I took it seriously, as we Brits do. I confess, now that I have read the whole article [well one has to earn a crust… doesn’t one] I find it all tongue in cheek and I have no idea what would be gained by writing about it in such a humorous way. Amsterdam a mere City has a greater % of deaths per capiter on its roads than the whole of Britain in 2010…… good idea, to make cycling safer. Don’t go on holiday to Amsterdam.

    Bob Craven, Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I think this article has shot itself in the foot.!!!!!!!
    Amsterdam population 780,000 Deaths 6 or 7? do they not know or are they waiting for the 7th accident to die?

    England Population 65,000,000, deaths 111

    So who has the better % us or them, you tell me.

    And another thing Amsterdam has always had a large cycling population going back almost a century. Unlike England that lost most of its bicycles in the 1950s. When young people moved away from their parents to get a job anywhere in the country and had the transport to do it with…. the car.

    Come on can no-one come up with something better than this to persuade others to get get on their bikes. And don’t get me started on a helmet being heavy, They must be weak in Amsterdam. What do they think we are stupid.

    We also have hills, something Amsterdam hasn’t.


    Bob Craven, Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.